R.I.P., Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman has died

Very sad news: The Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman, a veteran libertarian activist for decades, has died Aug. 10, 2019.

Schulman most recently was recognized for his surreal semi-autobiographical novel The Fractal Man, a 2019 Prometheus Award finalist for Best Novel.

Schulman wrote scripts for episodes of The Twilight Zone and wrote and directed several independent films, including most recently an adaptation of his Prometheus-winning novel Alongside Night.

Schulman also wrote essays and non-fiction books on several libertarian issues.

But he is perhaps best remembered for two novels, still very much worth reading (or rereading) today: The Rainbow Cadenza, which won the Prometheus Award for Best Novel in 1984, and Alongside Night, a 1979 novel that was inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame in 1989.

When Alongside Night was first published, it was one of the first novels to dramatically portray and explore an anarchocapitalist economy and society. It won praise from Milton Friedman, libertarian psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, sf authors Poul Anderson and Jerry Pournelle and British author Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange), who wrote these words of high praise:

“I received Alongside Night at noon today. It is now eight in the evening and I just finished it. I think I am entitled to some dinner now as I had no lunch. The unputdownability of the book ensured that. It is a remarkable and original story, and the picture it presents of an inflation- crippled America on the verge of revolution is all too acceptable. I wish, and so will many novelists, that I, or they, had thought of the idea first. A thrilling novel, crisply written, that fires the imagination as effectively as it stimulates the feelings.” — Anthony Burgess

Schulman (1953-2019), one of the guests of honor and eloquent panelists at the first LFScon in 2001 at Columbus’ Marcon, will be missed by his friends and fans.

Libertarian Austrian-school economist Stephan Kinsella, a long-time friend of Schulman, wrote this as part of his remembrance of Neil at www.stephankinsella.com
“He was a sweet and earnest soul, gentle and sincere and fervent, and a strong, strong believer in liberty, and truth, and justice,” Kinsella said.
“He made his mark on the libertarian movement, foremost and especially with his novel Alongside Night.”

For more about Neil’s life and career, please read Kinsella’s full tribute at www.stephankinsella.com

Published by

Mike Grossberg

Michael Grossberg, who founded the LFS in 1982 to help sustain the Prometheus Awards, has been a writer, arts critic, speaker and award-winning journalist for five decades. Most recently, Michael won the 2019 Ohio SPJ awards for Best Critic in Ohio (for theater reviews) and Best Arts Reporting (which he’s won seven times). He's written for Reason and Libertarian Review magazines, was a regional columnist for years for Backstage weekly, helped lead the American Theatre Critics Association for two decades and has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook and an afterword/essay for the first paperback edition of J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. Among the books he recommends to inform a libertarian-futurist perspective: Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist, David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

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